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Without looking at the Sports Section, name the MLB club with longest current winning streak?

Last night’s Ted Oberg story on the Sheriff’s Office was just another report about a government agency plunking down too much money for a consultant. We’ve seen that before. Nothing new. Nada!

Now the response and pre-response was apparently the story. Prior to last night’s Ted Oberg report on Channel 13, the Sheriff’s folks sent out a press release and here is the headline: HCSO CELEBRATES CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF TAXPAYER SAVINGS.

Here is how the press release starts and you can hit the link to read the rest but you won’t find a dollar amount for savings. Where are the savings? Here is how the press release starts:

When Sheriff Adrian Garcia took office in 2009, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was overspending its budget by about $58 million annually. In fact the agency had balanced its yearly budget only once in a decade.

In 2015, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has come in under the budget allocated by Commissioners Court for the fourth consecutive fiscal year.

Fiscal Year 2015, as it was known in county government, ended Feb. 28. After allowing for all accounts to settle from the previous budget year, the HCSO is celebrating another year of successful budget discipline.

Here is the entire press release: https://local.nixle.com/alert/5400560/?sub_id=1000000405.

Now here is from the Oberg story from last night on the so-called savings:

But Ted Oberg Investigates examined the contract and found that it’s unclear exactly how much the taxpayers have been saved because of Griffith’s work. The savings numbers the sheriff’s office provided to ABC-13 in interviews and via email have wide variations.

Indeed, in a recent interview, estimates of the cost savings escalated continuously, with Garcia at one point claiming a savings of $60 million because of Griffith’s work. Minutes later, Griffith said he saved the county $100 million. And then, after a few more minutes, the saving claim hit $112 million.

In an email to ABC-13 after the interview, the sheriff’s communications staff calculated the savings at $123 million.

When asked to clarify the wildly fluctuating savings estimates, sheriff’s officials provided an analysis of jail cost reductions with no dollar figure attached to it.

Here is the entire Oberg piece: http://abc13.com/news/thousand-dollar-a-day-consultant-fuzzy-variations-on-taxpayer-savings/678992/.

The fact is they are quibbling over savings. However, if you are going to say that there are savings, then an actual dollar amount would help and stick to it and believe it. Stumbling to find a response does not bode well if you are looking to move on up if you know what I mean.

Blue Bell made it to Letterman again last night.

We are up on the Mavs and Ken Hoffman of the Chron decided to talk about H-Town’s superiority over the Big D here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/columnists/hoffman/article/Houston-wipes-the-court-with-Dallas-in-more-6219239.php. I don’t like these kind of comparisons. It opens us up to the fact that they have gone to and won multiple Super Bowls and we have zilch.

I will be checking out Cecily Strong handling business in D.C. tomorrow night.

The Mets, who went 79-83 last season, have an 11 game winning streak and lead the NL East by 4 ½ of course.

We are still in first.

TxDOT certainly has an impact on our quality of life here in H-Town especially if you use the freeways. It seems like our freeways are always undergoing some sort of major repair, overhaul, or reconstruction. That’s life around these parts. These are the inconveniences we endure daily. Now TxDOT is thinking about doing a major Downtown makeover and scrapping the Pierce Elevated. One of the reasons given is that rerouting the Downtown freeway system could increase driving speeds on a revamped Downtown freeway system. I don’t know about that. It seems like we have always been congested and are always struggling to catch up. Don’t put Commentary in the good idea column on this one for sure.

Bad reporting last night out of Kemah by some of the local news media outlets. Come on! That’s all I am going to say about that.

Channel 13’s Ted Oberg is promoting this for tonight:

Updated 2 hrs 30 mins ago
Sheriff Adrian Garcia gave a consulting firm a no-bid contract worth more than a $1,000 per day.

To date, the firm’s been paid $1.7 million from profits on the inmate commissary at the Harris County Jail. The consultant and the sheriff say the deal has saved taxpayers millions and that the consultant is worth every penny.

Ted Oberg Investigates the deal and asks why if so much money has been saved why the sheriff’s budget continues to expand.

Just another topic to discuss, err ‘splain in the upcoming Mayoral contest.

Speaking of the Latino vote factor, check this tweet from yesterday:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 11m11 minutes ago
.@orlando_sanchez says mayoral bid is looking less likely but he “wouldn’t rule it out 100%” #hounews

Free at last! I am talking about Barry Bonds. Where does Bonds sit on the career all-time RBI list?

We got teased big time by the Chron today. They have this story about alleged corruption over with the HCC Board (past and present) but they don’t name names. I don’t know about this. Why write the story? Now you got folks thinking who is corrupt and who isn’t. Here is part of the story:

The former acting chancellor of Houston Community College said she detailed numerous corruption allegations to authorities, including claims that current and former board members tried to steer taxpayer-funded contracts to supporters and to line their own pockets from HCC business deals.

In court records filed Tuesday as part of an ongoing lawsuit with the college, Renee Byas offered the most comprehensive description yet of her communications with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Byas, ousted by the HCC board of trustees in 2014, listed an array of alleged acts that she found questionable over the last several years, the records show.

In one instance, she alleged, a board member took a free trip to the Caribbean with an HCC vendor on the vendor’s plane. Another time, she claimed, a board member accused another in closed session of accepting bribes and kickbacks, and the accused starting punching that trustee.

Byas also said she told law enforcement authorities that three trustees tried to orchestrate a deal in which the college would buy property, and they would receive 10 percent of the money that HCC paid to the seller, according to the court records.

Byas, a lawyer who also served as HCC’s general counsel, did not tie each allegation to specific trustees but said she talked to authorities about eight current or former trustees and believed they attempted to violate the law or did so.

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Former-HCC-head-details-alleged-corruption-by-6216988.php.

That’s not fair if you ask me. Either print the names or scrap the story.

Blue Bell made Letterman last night and that’s not good.

Here is what the Chron E-Board said about Blue Bell today:
http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Trust-shaken-6217686.php.

Are you ever going to try Blue Bell again?

Nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette has been slamming the GOP on immigration. Now I guess he has to do a little slamming today on Hillary on immigration. Sorry, pal! Latino voters know what is going on. Hillary is going to be right where we want her to be in 2016 and the GOP isn’t and our vote will overwhelmingly go to Hillary. We know who is holding up the President’s executive decisions.

Here is the Navarrette column: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Navarrette-Clington-campaign-should-get-to-know-6217348.php.

Hank Aaron has 2,297 career RBIs, Babe Ruth has 2,213, and Barry Bonds has 1,996 of course.

We lost last night but we are still in first place.

Endorsement Time

If you are not in the game, you won’t get endorsed. That’s the way it goes. I am talking about the race for H-Town Mayor. Get in the game and you might pick up some endorsements. Check this:

Sylvester Turner retweeted
Greg Groogan @GrooganFox26 • 14h 14 hours ago
@RepWalle tells #Fox26 he will endorse @SylvesterTurner in Houston Mayoral race. No to unannounced Garcia. #LatinVote

Sylvester Turner @SylvesterTurner • 13h 13 hours ago
Thanks to my friend @RepWalle for the endorsement. Great colleague to have in the House and great supporter for my campaign. #Turner2015

I prefer #LatinoVote over #LatinVote.

This is the season for endorsement roll-outs so stay tuned!

I know it is just April 22 and we’ve only played 14 games but we are in first place with a game and a half lead and we are 4-1 on the road. When was the last time we finished with more than 90 wins in a season?

How about this endorsement?

HOUSTON-AREA EDUCATION LEADERS ENDORSE BILL KING FOR MAYOR

EDUCATORS CITE KING’S STRONG RECORD OF LEADERSHIP AND RESULTS

HOUSTON – The Bill King for Mayor campaign today announced a list of current and former Houston-area education leaders who are endorsing Bill King to be Houston’s next Mayor.

The education leaders cited King’s longstanding record of community leadership and positive results as the reason they feel King is the best candidate to address the big challenges facing Houston.

Here is the list of endorsers at the time of release:

Paula Arnold (former HISD Board Member)
Rick Berry (former Cy-Fair ISD Superintendent)
Nelda Luce Blair (former University of Houston Board of Regent)
James Calaway (former HISD Foundation Chair)**
Bob Davee (former Clear Creek ISD Board member)
Marie Flickinger (San Jacinto College Board Member)
Nhgi T. Ho (Alief ISD Board Member)
Dr. Don Hooper (former Ft. Bend ISD and Galena Park ISD Superintendent)
Dianne Johnson (former HISD Board Member)
Mike Lunceford (HISD Board Member)
Don McAdams (former HISD Board Member)
Dr. Leonard Merrell (former Katy ISD Superintendent)
Greg Meyers (HISD Board Member)
Harvin Moore (HISD Board Member)
Ralph Parr (former Clear Creek ISD Board member and retired educator)
Dr. Kaye Stripling (former HISD Superintendent)
Lori Vetters (HISD Foundation Chair)**
Mills Worsham (former Houston Community College Board Member)

“Each of us knows from personal experience just how capable, inclusive and effective Bill King is when it comes to tackling big challenges in our community,” said Harvin Moore. “He knows the issues, and he knows how to lead – and we know he will make an excellent mayor if given the chance to serve.”

Bill King has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to education. He served on the Board of Regents for Texas Southern University; the HISD Foundation board; and was recently asked by the chancellor of the University of Houston System and President of the University of Houston, Renu Khator, to serve on the search committee for the dean of the UH Law Center. Kings holds both an undergraduate degree and a law degree from the University of Houston.

In 2012, King also co-chaired the HISD bond campaign rebuild its dilapidated high schools throughout the city, which won nearly 70 percent voter approval.

For more information about Bill King and his campaign to get Houston “Back to Basics,” please go to billkingforhouston.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

** An endorsement from individual HISD Foundation board members does not imply an endorsement from the overall Board.

Visit http://www.billkingforhouston.com for more information.

More props for Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg this morning. She has a full page congratulatory ad on page three of today’s City/State Section. Nice!

Hey, if you can take advantage of the Rockets for political gain – why not! Check this tweet:

Chris Bell @ChrisBell2015 • 18h 18 hours ago
Now if only Houston could fill potholes the way @DwightHoward fills nets. Go @HoustonRockets!!!

It gets personal. Someone close to me told me that his dad suffered a busted rim after hitting #HoustonPotholes on Washington Avenue. We are at war with #HoustonPotholes and they are winning.

Is this the end of Blue Bell? Will we ever see it at The Yard this season? How do they make a comeback?

The ‘Stros were 92-70 in 2004 of course.

And finally this tweet:

Nick Mathews ‏@Nick_Mathews 6m6 minutes ago
#Astros currently have a 1.5-game lead over A’s in AL West – the first time they’ve had a division lead of 1+ games since April 18, 2006.

Hey Texans! Today is San Jacinto Day. Hey H-Town! That’s right down the road off of HWY 225 or I-10 right before you get to Baytown. 179 years ago today!

Who leads the ‘Stros in dingers this season?

This is a Big Deal, H-Town. Congratulations to Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg. The first ever for a Chron writer!

Appreciate this huge accomplishment for the hometown newspaper.

I am sure she will be getting a lot of offers to go national or something like that. I hope the Chron makes every effort to keep her here for years to come.

You may not always agree with what she writes, but she is a treasure for sure. Way to go!

On her win, here is what she said:

“It’s an amazing feeling.”

“It doesn’t change who I am.”

“It’s not the reason I do this work. It’s just an award. But I guess it’s nice to feel respected. While I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement through the years, I’ve often felt discounted at times, either because I was young, or because I was a woman, or because my dad’s a truck driver and I sometimes miss obscure literary references. People like me aren’t supposed to win the Pulitzer. But now I have. And if it means that people read me who otherwise wouldn’t, or that people pay more attention to the issues I write about, then that’s a beautiful thing.”

Here is the Chron article on Falkenberg: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Falkenberg-wins-Houston-Chronicle-s-first-Pulitzer-6212508.php#photo-7851957.

I drove way out to Carmelo’s yesterday evening to a Bill King reception and found a big crowd – nice job!

Luis Valbuena had two dingers last night at Safeco and leads the team with five of course.

We are still in first place.

We will know at 2 pm today so good luck!

The Uber folks sent a letter to the H-Town Mayor on Friday and said they were complying. You and I know they will be out of compliance sooner rather than later.

H-Town City Council Member Oliver Pennington withdrew from the Mayoral race due to a family illness. Let’s hope for a quick recovery. Here is what the Chron’s Mike Morris said about the impact of the CM Pennington wirhdrawal:

The 75-year-old retired attorney’s exit removes the candidate best positioned to secure conservative votes, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. That could have a significant impact on a crowded race in which any candidate with a reliable base has a shot at earning one of two spots in the December runoff election that will surely follow November’s initial vote.

The news is an obvious boon to Councilman Steve Costello and former Kemah mayor Bill King, Jones said, two centrist-to-conservative candidates who were set to spar with Pennington for the same supporters.

“There simply was not enough room for them to all three run and have a real chance of entering the runoff,” Jones said. “Pennington had at least a potential path to the second round. But it would have been a very uphill battle to actually win a runoff because the characteristics that made him one of the more viable Republican candidates also made him less viable against a Democratic foe in a runoff.”

Here is the entire Morris piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Councilman-Pennington-ends-run-for-mayor-6207311.php.

We will see.

Here is an easy one. Name the opposing MLB player with the most career dingers at The Yard?

The Chron’s Ken Hoffman had a Q&A with Hunker Down yesterday and here is one question:

Q: Haven’t the taxpayers made their wishes clear to you? No tax money for the Astrodome. There was an election …

Emmett: They haven’t made clear their wishes. The polls that I’ve seen say people overwhelmingly support saving the Dome. But you’re right, they just don’t want to use their money to save it. The bond election in 2013 was poorly presented to voters. To this day, people still think they were voting for a convention center. That’s what failed. People did not vote to tear it down. Some people think they did, but that wasn’t on the ballot.

I am thinking that the Dome is certainly on its way to becoming the longest running local public policy discussion in H-Town area history.

Dante and I made it out to The Yard Saturday. We took our annual photo at The Yard. Now he is taller than me. I put out photos of us at The Yard over the years including our first in June of 2001. This is what I tweeted:

Marc Campos‏@MarcCommentary 3h3 hours ago
With @DanteD__ at #MMP for @astros June,2001 – last night. #GoAstros. pic.twitter.com/0Wpw3907Uv

Check out these tweets:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 28m28 minutes ago
Albert Pujols now has 46 career home runs vs. the Astros, tying Hank Aaron for most HRs hit against the Astros.

Nick Mathews ‏@Nick_Mathews 1h1 hour ago
The MLB division leaders: NL East: Mets NL Central: Cardinals NL West: Dodgers AL East: Orioles/Red Sox AL Central: Tigers AL West: Astros

You got it right if you said Pujols has 25 career dingers at The Yard to lead all opposing players of course.

The first place ‘Stros are in Seattle for three. That has a nice ring to it!

Legacy of Sorts

Commentary posted this from Channel 13 yesterday:

HOUSTON (KTRK) — When Mayor Annise Parker delivers her final state of the city address on Thursday, she plans to offer a challenge to the mayoral candidates.

She didn’t. She just ended her speech yesterday saying she wanted a truth telling mayor who would tackle the tough issues or something like that.

I also said this yesterday:

Because of term limits, an H-Town mayor gets six and done. During the six years, a mayor gets to rack up a few accomplishments and make sure they don’t run the City into the ditch. Because of term limits, you don’t really have the time leave a legacy of sorts. After your six years, you are gone – that’s it. Then a few years from now insider folks will be sitting around having a beer or two and playing a trivia game trying to name accomplishments of former H-Town mayors. Like who created Discovery Green? Who started light rail? Who brought us the drainage fee? You get the picture.

Here is the headline of a story today in the hard copy of the Chron: As clock ticks, Parker seeks to define mayoral legacy. Here is the story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Parker-s-state-of-the-city-seeks-to-define-her-6205141.php.

I watched her speech on the flat screen yesterday and yes, she listed her accomplishments. Hey, I guess that is what you are supposed to say in your last State of the City speech. Heck they even introduced her with the Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire” tune.

Here is an interesting bit from the Chron story:

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, said Parker’s speech at times resembled a “laundry list” of legacy-building accomplishments but said her underlying claim that the city has improved under her leadership is largely true.

Jones credited Parker with significant successes early in her term: giving scandal-ridden Metro new leaders, shoring up the city’s books by increasing water rates and health insurance costs for city workers, particularly retirees, and by laying off 776 city workers to balance the budget without a tax hike, though she did raise fees and cut deals to defer some bills.

“Is she leaving the city of Houston better off than when she arrived?” Jones said. “Broadly speaking, across the board, I think that’s definitely the case. You could say, ‘How much of that has to do with her and how much of that has to do with the state’s economy, with the energy industry?’ But the reality is, under her tenure, things improved in Houston.”

Can the same be said of the last few H-Town mayors? Who left the city in worse shape? Oh, well!

In the last regular season game played in the Dome that I mentioned yesterday, name the ‘Stros pitcher who was credited with the win?

Check this tweet:

Nick Mathews ‏@Nick_Mathews 12m12 minutes ago
A fun read: Search is on for the Astrodome’s mysterious time capsule, via @HoustonChron. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Search-is-on-for-the-Dome-s-mysterious-time-6205224.php?t=0a1093e451cba496f0&cmpid=twitter-premium

Of course, if the Dome was demolished, I bet the capsule would turn up.

Mike Hampton of course picked up the win in the last regular season game played at the Dome in 1999.

This is from the ‘Stros website on what is happening this weekend:

Six members of the first team to be called the Astros, which originated 50 years ago in coordination with the opening of the Astrodome, will be at Minute Maid Park on Saturday as part of the Astros 50th Anniversary Weekend.

The members of that original 1965 Astros squad scheduled to be in attendance Saturday are Bob Aspromonte, Ron Brand, Bob Bruce, Dan Coombs, Larry Dierker and Jimmy Wynn.

Moving On Out

The Mayor gives her “State of the City” speech today and I saw this earlier from Channel 13:

HOUSTON (KTRK) — When Mayor Annise Parker delivers her final state of the city address on Thursday, she plans to offer a challenge to the mayoral candidates.

I guess she can issue a challenge but I don’t think most of the Mayoral candidates will take up the challenge. They all have their own plans and ideas.

The campaigns for who gets to be the next mayor are just getting started. I am thinking that the candidates and their campaign folks are more interested in what the voters have to say these days. That’s just the way it goes.

The Chron E-Board has a take today on the Mayor’s “State of the City” here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/State-of-the-City-6202618.php.

I don’t think I saw a mention of the City getting Ubered. That’s probably because the E-Board doesn’t want to remind itself that they also fell in love with Uber last year.

I hope the Mayor pats herself on the back today because she deserves a pat on the back and a “way to go” on some stuff. On some stuff she missed on but that happens to all mayors.

Because of term limits, an H-Town mayor gets six and done. During the six years, a mayor gets to rack up a few accomplishments and make sure they don’t run the City into the ditch. Because of term limits, you don’t really have the time leave a legacy of sorts. After your six years, you are gone – that’s it. Then a few years from now insider folks will be sitting around having a beer or two and playing a trivia game trying to name accomplishments of former H-Town mayors. Like who created Discovery Green? Who started light rail? Who brought us the drainage fee? You get the picture.

You can pick up a Dome replica this Saturday at The Yard if you are among the first 10,000 to attend. Everybody knows that we played our last regular season game at the Dome against the Dodgers on Sunday, October 3, 1999 that we won 9-4. Name the player who hit the last regular season dinger at the Dome?

Jorge Ramos is on one of the covers of “Time” this week. He got a mention from Hoda Kotb on “Today” this morning – Jorge RAYMOS – not.

I have to think that the folks that run Uber up in NoCal are laughing their arses off at H-Town these days. They printed out that demand letter from the Mayor and probably folded it up and made it into a paper airplane or something like that. They have been laughing their ares off at us for close to a year now.

I really do hope that the Mayor brings down the hammer on Uber and heck, while she is at it, on those that advised her Uber was a good idea. Here is the Chron story on the latest on Uber: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mayor-demands-answers-from-Uber-on-permit-6202591.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Ken Caminiti’s third inning solo shot on Sunday, October 3, 1999, was the last regular season dinger hit in the Dome of course.

We are at 4-5 and have the day off. The 4-5 Angels visit The Yard this weekend. Their four wins have all been on the road – yikes!

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